First of all, thank you so much for all of your support and encouragement yesterday! The Feels Like Home launch has been a success so far and I was beaming all day. Since more of you have the book now, I wanted to talk about one of the exercises in the book that I am particularly proud of – creating a living mood board to discover your unique style.
There have been all sorts of quizzes and categories created over the decades to try to help people define their style and therefore be more focused and intentional when decorating their homes. I think those can be helpful (and fun), but most people don’t fit neatly into a category. We like and appreciate a mix of styles and the quiz results might vary greatly just depending on what we were exposed to and liking on that particular day. What we like is a moving target, which can be very frustrating when you’re trying to work on a house over several years or even decades.
This exercise developed as I was photographing the book. I started creating a few flat lays of fabrics, ribbons, and paint swatches to shoot for each chapter. This started to evolve until I was grabbing anything and everything that I thought might look good together. I was hunting and gathering from my own things, my favorite things, not worrying if they were decorative items or not. They could be antiques, art supplies, kitchen utensils, natural elements…whatever caught my eye.
I was not only creating a flat lay photograph, but I was creating a mood board. A living mood board. It wasn’t made out of magazine clippings of things I liked but didn’t own. It was made of things I’ve bought and displayed. It was made of things I love, things that make me smile, and things I could build an entire room around. And, while the color palettes and emphasis of each flat lay were a little different, they were all “me” because they were made with my things. I could clearly see my style and appreciate it in a whole new way.
It also gave me the opportunity to creatively play and rearrange with no money and very little energy expended. It’s a way to test out pops of color you might want to add to your typical color palette or you might discover that you’ve never really seen or recognized your true style. Maybe what you like has always been swayed by others or sifted through a filter of trends so that it lost the things that make it unique.
I would encourage you to try it. At the very least, it gets you playing with things you love and that almost always sparks ideas or creates motivation. Set it out on a table or on the floor in a room where it will be out of the way and play with it for a few days. Take a picture of it with your phone (in good, natural lighting) and study it a bit. What do you see? What are the common threads? Maybe it’s not a specific color palette, but it’s a feeling. Everything is bright, everything is soft, everything is old. Maybe there is a strong color palette. Maybe it’s all neutral. Maybe it’s eclectic. Maybe it’s rustic or romantic or a complete mish-mash. Whatever it is, it’s you and it’s likely and completely okay if it doesn’t have a strong leaning toward one decor category or another.
It’s just a little collection of you.
This would also be a fun exercise to do with your kids if you’re working on their room and talk about why they picked each item. We learn a lot about people through their things.
So, what do you do with this living mood board once you’ve created it? How can you turn it into a room?
Well, the good news is that the living mood board is completely open for interpretation. You can take it literally and match your wall color to one of the chosen elements, find fabrics and furniture that would be right at home in your board. Or, you can simply use it as a compass to give you a point in the right direction. When you look at your living mood board, write down the words you would use to describe it. Colors, textures, feeling, age, condition, patterns, materials, sheen… Then apply those words to your room. Are those words being represented? Are they being camouflaged by things you don’t really love or by clutter? Are those words not represented at all? If not, how can you add them in? How can you take the collection of things you love and slowly bring that feeling into your room?
This is an amazing exercise to get you to really see your style instead of trying to fit it into one broad category. It gives you the freedom to love what you love and appreciate it in a whole new way.
If you ever go to a thrift store and antique store and start collecting things that are “you”, then this is the same idea. Through the chaos of the store, your style is emerging by selection and grouping. I always love it when I shop with friends and I can clearly see them in their piles and me in my pile. We’re not shopping for a decor category. We’re shopping for ourselves. When you take style labels off the table, some of the pressure to fit into one goes with it. You don’t have to worry about French Country or Farmhouse or Bohemian going out of style because you don’t fit in any of those boxes anyway. And you, my friend, you and what you love will never be out of style. It’ll just evolve and grow as you evolve and grow.
If you do this exercise, take a picture of it, share it on Instagram, and tag me (@missmustardseed.) I’d love to see some of your style reflected in some of your favorite things. If you do the exercise, but can’t share a picture, just leave a comment with the words you saw in your style. I bet we’ll all be able to visualize your style just through those words.
This exercise and so many more are available in Feels Like Home…
If you’re in Canada, you can order it online from Indigo.